In the first episode of the Netflix docusoap Selling Sunset, a group of agents from The Oppenheim Group tour a then-under construction 20,000-square-foot mansion high up in the Hollywood Hills. Despite the scaffolding and plastic tarps, it’s a sight to behold with five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a private elevator and nearly 360-degree views. “It’s the biggest house ever built in the Hollywood Hills,” explains Jason Oppenheim to the team.
Cut to a year or so later, as a colleague and I spill out of an Uber and approach the gates of 8408 Hillside Avenue — now complete and still on the market. We’re here to meet top real estate agent David Parnes (yes, that David Parnes from The Agency and Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing). He soon arrives in an SUV with his mother in tow — she’s just stepped off a flight from London.
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Slipping on disposable shoe covers, we’re whisked into a jaw-dropping entryway with a bridge-like walkway flanked by two water features. There’s an oblong table, although it’s really more of an art piece, with the finest slab of onyx I’ve ever laid eyes on.
“This way,” Parnes says as he leads us to the car showroom, which is climate controlled and clad in limestone. There are six vehicles on display that day, although the space can easily accommodate 10. I count a Lamborghini, Dodge Charger, McLaren, Mercedes and a Ford GT among them. The homeowner, as we later learned, owns several car dealerships in addition to his real estate development ventures.
The wellness center is the next stop on our tour, complete with hot and cold plunge spas, a sauna, steam room, gym and massage tables. We continue on to the velvet-sheathed theatre room, which features exquisite lighting design and a state-of-the-art projection and sound system.
We climb the stairs to the light-drenched main level, encased by operable glass walls that open to the outdoors. A 163-foot infinity pool snakes its way around the patio — its brilliant blue mosaic tiles glittering in the sun. A repairman is onsite doing the final installation on a massive flatscreen TV that rises from the edge of the pool, a unique feature of the home touted on Selling Sunset.
Taking in the spectacular view, it’s easy to overlook the custom-made sofas and large-scale artwork that surround us. The furniture, which is included in the pricetag, isn’t akin to that of a spec home, notes Parnes. These are the owners’ own pieces, which gives Hillside an authentic, truly livable vibe.
One of the most striking elements throughout the SAOTA-designed home (this was the firm’s first-ever ground up construction, in fact) are the wood slat ceilings. While many modernist Hollywood homes resemble concrete bunkers, Hillside feels warm and inviting despite its gargantuan footprint.
We pop by ‘the kitchen,’ which is actually two kitchens — one for eating and entertaining and the other for cooking — and ogle the walk-in wine vault. Here, there is a more casual sitting area with yet another TV that emerges out of the side of a wall (the homeowner was understandably very excited to show us this feature).
From there, we climb a set of stairs that leads to the sleeping quarters. This staircase provides an excellent view into the glassed-in courtyard where two towering palm trees grow. The master bedroom, which occupies its own wing, is an indoor/outdoor retreat, featuring a retractable wall of windows and a wraparound terrace with a spa. In the ensuite bath, an oval semi-recessed tub is paired with a black marble-adorned walk-in shower.
We make our way down the hall to the oversized dressing room with systems imported from Lake Como, Italy. There is mahogany absolutely everywhere. “It’s like shopping at Prada!” says Ms. Parnes, “No, it’s better than Prada!” Perfectly-pressed shirts are hung with care, while purses that cost triple my rent are perched on back-lit shelves.
Next it’s time to explore the other four bedrooms, all of which have a personality of their own. There is a handsome library with navy blue grasscloth wallcoverings and a floating slab of marble where one might work on a laptop, pausing occasionally to marvel at the view.
When we’ve had our fill of bedrooms, we head up to the immense rooftop terrace where a collective gasp ensues. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean, claims Parnes. The homeowner spent $1 million to bury nearby power lines that obstructed the view.
A conversation pit with a gas-burning fire evokes a ‘70s feel, while the dining area and bar make the terrace the perfect spot for hosting events. Parnes points out that the private elevator reaches this level to prevent curious party guests from traipsing around the house.
At this point we did not do an all-hands-in cheer à la Selling Sunset, but we did take the time to snap a few photos and admire the sweeping vistas. “How does Hillside compare to other homes you’ve seen in L.A.?” Parnes asked me. Sheepishly, I admitted this was the very first home I’d toured since moving here last fall. “You’ve set the bar as high as it can possibly go,” I answered.